Flexible composites containing BaTiO3 nanoparticles into Gelatin bio-polymer matrix were designed and investigated. Following the idea that the electric field concentration in corners/edges at the interfaces between dissimilar materials give rise to enhanced effective permittivity in composites, cuboid-like BaTiO3 nanoparticles have been employed as nanofillers into Gelatin matrix by using an inexpensive solution-based processing method. As predicted by finite element method simulations developed for cubic-like inclusions into a homogeneous polymer matrix, the experimental permittivity of xBT-(1-x)Gelatin composites increases when increasing the high-permittivity filler addition. For the composition x = 40 wt% (corresponding to 12 vol% BaTiO3 addition), permittivity reaches εr ∼15.7 with respect to εr ∼9.8 of pure Gelatine (measured at 105 Hz), while the average piezoelectric coefficient d33 as determined by piezoelectric force microscopy shows a remarkable increase up to 21 pm/V in composites with x = 40 wt%, in comparison to ∼7 pm/V in pure Gelatin. By using the experimentally determined material constants, the simulated piezoelectric voltage output vs. time has shown a similar increase (about a doubling of its amplitude) of the harvesting signal in the composite with x = 40 wt% BT, with respect to one of the polymer matrix, thus demonstrating the beneficial role of embedding BT nanoparticles into the biopolymer for increasing the mechanical harvesting response.
- Biomedical applications
- Piezoelectric properties